Out of Bounds with Jason Riley

For once, can I please write this column after a Lakers’ win? I customarily have only one rule I adhere to when it comes to my own writing. Don’t write angry. And when we win this series on Friday (fingers crossed), I’ll be sure to follow that rule. Until then, this is just going to have to do.

During the pasting at the Pepsi Center last night, I couldn’t help but draw the parallels between this years’ Denver Nuggets and the Portland Jail Blazers of the early 2000’s. Both teams were a collection of players whose talent was only paralleled by their idiocy; and I say was because that’s exactly what the Denver Nuggets will soon be. Check out the matchups:

Dahntay Jones, J.R. Smith, Chris Andersen, Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthony versus Ruben Patterson, Bonzi Wells, Qyntel Woods, Zach Randolph and Rasheed Wallace. How fun would that be to watch? There is no ceiling on the entertainment value of this game. If Jones tripped Sheed on the way to the basket, would Sheed stab him with a hand-carved spork? Would Zach Randolph try to eat J.R. Smith before, or after, he knocked him out? Who would win a fight between the Birdman and Qyntel Woods? The possibilities are endless. I say the winning team gets a carton of cigarettes for a year; the losing team has to read a book. Can somebody please make this happen?

Back to the WCF. Here’s what we know for sure: David Stern will admit a third of the NBA refs are legally blind before he lets the Denver Nuggets play for the NBA Championship. In what parallel universe will Stern hand the WCF trophy to Carmelo Anthony and praise the efforts of J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin? Speaking as a fan of NBA basketball, it’s a shame that a roster as talented as the Denver Nuggets so often falls victim to the classless actions of a few players. Speaking as a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s a shame that a roster as talented as the Lakers’ so often falls victim to the apathetic effort we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from these guys this season.

Once again, the Lakers beat themselves in a game that would have likely put this series on ice. Here are a few observations from last night’s game 4:

  • The Nuggets bigs (K-Mart, Nene and the Birdman) were +19 on the boards against the Lakers bigs (Gasol, Drew and Odom). It’s not size, it’s toughness. At-least a dozen times the Lakers failed to box out and just watched the Nuggets corral the rebound. Even worse, half the time Pau and/or Bynum were pushed underneath the basket or ineffectively standing on the baseline. More times than not, they didn’t even recover to contest the put-back.
  • The Lakers not named Kobe, Pau or Bynum shot a combined 10-38, including a 1-8 performance from Lamar and another subpar 2-7 from Derek Fisher. Speaking of subpar, did anyone else find it humorously ironic that Sasha Vujacic had an ice pack on his shooting hand? Is it even feasible that his shooting hand could possibly be more ice cold than it’s already been during these playoffs? I demand that he spends hours in the steam room before the game. Actually, it might be a good idea if he went there now and stayed until tip-off.
  • Is it not disturbing that Nuggets fans are encouraging their poor children to emulate Chris Andersen? L-ESPN (Lebron’s Entertainment Sports Network) cut to several young kids sporting Mohawks and wearing the Birdman’s jersey. The lesson? “It’s okay to do cocaine as long as you learn from it and play like you’re still on it.” I guess we can blame it on all that snow up there in the Rockies.

As always, this series has more to do with the Lakers than it does with the Nuggets. When the Lakers are energized and focused, they are far superior to any team in the NBA. It’s their own bland and dreary play at times that becomes their own worst enemy. Can Kobe continue playing 42+ minutes per game and sustain his energy? Will Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol bounce back to clean up the glass? Will the Lakers role-players provide any sort of help in this series?

I think the answer can be found in the former words of Kobe Bryant, “You shake the tree, a leopard’s gonna’ fall out.” Thank you, Denver, for leveling the whole forest.

See you tomorrow.

Jason Riley is a columnist for the Lakers Nation. In addition to this column, he writes on an array of topics that you can check out by visiting J-Ri.com. You can email him by clicking here, look him up on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter for in-game coverage.

  • http://helloooooo.com JNA

    so i was eating at california chicken cafe the other day and the dude behind the counter had the nerve to give me a number “23”…what a hater!!

    http://www.helloooooo.com/2009/05/26/ummm-ill-take-another-number-please/

    SO RUDE!

  • jc

    im not gonna fall prey to hating on chris andersen like everyone else. his story is great. loved that guy in NO. all energy. solid d with all heart. btw i thought he got busted for weed not coke? point is, this whole denver thuggets thing is dumb. last year they were enver cause they couldnt play D. now they’re thuggets cause theyre absolutely owning softies like sasha, walton, and pau. if we traded sasha for jr smith wed love it. you people call them a good team with improved d when they play 27 other teams. against us, theyre thugs. SMH

  • http://www.myspace.com/on3s3qu3nc3 123kid

    ^nicely said. especially about the lil kids wanna be lil versions of chris andersens.

    but anywayz…judging by the post game interviews i saw on lakers.com, it seems like the lakers were quite satisfied with just gettin 1 game in denver. i mean its great that they did, but is it great to know thats all they wanted. but who knows!?!?!? game 4 is over and in the past, now game 5 is tomorrow and its the future! time to forget it and see if they can come out tomorrow and 1 up denver.

  • LifeLongLakerFan

    Man the NBA is full of ****. I Can’t believe they reviewed that clip of Jones tripping Kobe and all he gets is a flagrant one which essentially means he got away with it!!

  • WatWudChickSay? (WWCS)

    Great article, as usual.

    The thought of handing the O’Brien Trophy to that tatted-up group of Downes Syndrome Sufferers must send shivers down the spine of David Stern.

    I expect Dahntay Jones (BTW, nice spelling of “Dante” Mr. and Mrs. Jones – almost up to Anfernee Hardaway standards) to be suspended for the trip on Kobe.

    I also expect a Whistle-a-Palooza on the Nuggets in Game 5 as whatever crew of Blind Mice gets the honor of calling that game realizes it is not in their employers’ interests to have ABC/ESPN earn lowe ratings for a final involving two small market teams, one of whom looks like the rejects from the “Con Air” casting call.

  • Whogivesaratsass

    lol

  • WifelovesLuke

    JC wrote: ” point is, this whole denver thuggets thing is dumb. last year they were enver cause they couldnt play D. now they’re thuggets cause theyre absolutely owning softies like sasha, walton, and pau. if we traded sasha for jr smith wed love it. you people call them a good team with improved d when they play 27 other teams. against us, theyre thugs. SMH”

    So you condone the use of elbows and shoves to the back? You condone intentionaly tripping of a player and verbal threats? That thuggery and street ball not the NBA!

    I love physical, tough playoff basketball as much as anyone else but what enver is doing is not “D”. The ball doesn’t go into the low post to Pau enough and he’s the soft one? Give me a break! This is not the same Gasoft we saw in the finals last year. He is playing incredible basketball and the perimeter players need to do a better job of throwing it into him early in the 24 second clock. Even if he doesn’t take the shot, he’s going to pass to an open player. Feed the post for the rest of the series and we will be fine.

  • re:birdman

    Anderson was suspended for what was likely a combination of cocaine and cannabis (popularly known as marijuana). It is my understanding that a great deal of NBA’ers continue smoking pot, very few of them are ever busted or suspended. Anderson must have been really pushing the limits of acceptable and non-acceptable drug use.

  • re:re:birdman

    Sorry for the double post. Just did some research to find that veteran players are only tested once during training camp, and that’s it. It is very likely that a lot of players use amphetamines to get up for games, and marijuana to relax afterwards. This is the same thing baseball players often did before the new stringent testing procedures.

  • lainok

    this was the best article you’ve written all season.

  • http://57.amklac kobe,bi-curious?

    thugs or pansies,you decide who is gonna win this war!

  • http://lakernation kauaimamba

    Birdman was suspended for two years for either coke,heroin or meth.It’s a harsher suspension than just weed.If ganja had the same penalties,the NBA wouldn’t be able to field enough teams to have a season.

  • battgyrl

    the lakers aren’t that good deep down you truly know this that’s why you have to stoop to insults and hopes of david stern handing the trophy over to the lakers because somehow in your world the nuggets don’t deserve to win a championship because some players on denver play a little ruff and anderson had some problems the fact that he owned up to it served his time worked hard at turning his life around and has made a positive impact is what people look up to.the lakers beat themselves lol they got out played in every phase of the game by a better team stop thinking that they are not playing hard this is the best that they can do and if they can’t handle the physical play when kobe is the cheap shot artist of the league then tell them to join the wnba

  • Kevin

    I know this is from prior posts but I’m behind the blogger who said we need to get rid of LO. I’ve also been a Laker fan from the Jerry West days – no it doesn’t make me an expert, but I have watched many laker games and followed the team throughout the years.

    So many perfect points made – these guys are paid millions of dollars to play a part time game. They better bring it every fricking night. If you slack off at work, your boss will can your azz. These guys are paid whether they perform or not. Pathetic.

    LO experiment is finished. Doesn’t matter if he is talented and versatile if he doesn’t use it during the playoffs when it counts. Maybe we can trade and get Birdman, then LO and him can smoke pot all night together before big games. When will we just let him go? We should have traded him this year and got something out of it. Artest would have been awesome…but no, we kept the same team from last year and obviously didn’t learn anything from getting our azz wiped off the floor in game 6.

    I want the Lakers to get players with heart and fire to play this game. I like Kobe, Shannon, Trevor, DJ – I’d MUCH rather watch DJ play his heart out and lose than watch a bunch of pansies play half ass. Should have kept Ronny and shipped out Sasha. Get Battier – guys who will play their heart out for their team.

    I’m not abandoning this team – will root for them until the end – win or lose – big (good) changes need to happen in the off season.

  • hockey fan

    I see you all complaining about the reffing during the playoffs. Convert to hockey and make David Stern pay for this bs going on. Watch hockey – it’s so much better than basketball. The refs aren’t perfect but the players get to play the game. It usually is not decided by the refs getting so involved that they change the results of games like the NBA.

    I was a huge NBA fan for years but am sick of the way the games are being called. So many terrible calls and nothing is being done about it. Denver/Dallas last shot? Dwight Howards clean block on lbj. Jones tripping Kobe. Those are just the obvious ones – we all can see what is going on….it is just so one sided that these games have to be fixed.

    The only way they will clean this up is if we start watching another sport. The revenues will go down and then they’ll do something – until then expect more of the same or worse.

  • Lakers_TheTruth

    Luke
    Sasha
    Farmar
    Fisher
    Lamar
    any of these can go.

    Let’s resign
    Ariza
    Shanon Brown

    But this is talk after the finals if we make it.
    Lakers should really try to persuade Artest to come and play. I bet he wants it really bad.

  • WatWudChickSay? (WWCS?)

    [Comment ID #73189 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Oh, he DEFINITELY wants to play in LA: you don’t show up to Laker post-season games two years in a row when you are a free agent by accident.

    I think it’s worth the risk. And in a controlled offense, aka The Triangle, with Kobe and Pau as your primary weapons, he’s make a great small forward, either coming off the bench for Ariza or as a starter.

    He’s not my favorite human and he’s not as good a person as Lamar, but he’s worth 3-4 more regular season wins and a win or two more in the playoffs.

  • DaveW

    I’m totally with you guys on Artest!!! I wanted him when he went to Houston – we could have given them LO or something – but he showed he can somewhat control himself. He is the crazy defender that we need – and will protect our players. We have too many softies who won’t lay down the hard foul – Artest would enforce and retaliate. We need someone like that with all the other finesse players we got.

    He also is not my favorite human but LO is just not showing up – even in his contract year! How do you not perform during that time unless your a total pot head. I don’t want the Lakers to turn into thugs – but we do need some players that are willing to bang in the paint and play tough d. Maybe the other players would learn from his aggressive style of play.

    Forget about LO being a fun guy and a good teammate. We need guys who will get us the ring!!! If that means a few crazies – so be it!!

  • WE ARE ALL WITNESSES TO LEBRON BEING ON THE BRINK OF ELIMINATION

    J.R.(JERK RETARD)SMITH’S ANTICS LOOK LIKE THE MONOLITH LANDED!
    CUMTRAY JONES IS A COWARD WHO CANT DEFEND KOBE!
    CARMELO IS A DRUNK DRIVER WHO PUTS OTHER PEOPLES LIVES IN JEOPARDY!
    TURDMAN IS A DRUGGIE ADDICT WHOSE FUTURE AFTER BASKETBALL WILL AT BEST BE HACK REALITY T.V. BEFORE RELAPSE!
    NENE HAD HIS TESTICLES TAKEN SO WE DONT KNOW IF ITS A MAN, A WOMAN, A TRANSEXUAL OR A HERMAPHRODITE!
    KENYON MARTIN’S A BIT.CH AND THE APPLE DOESNT FALL FAR FROM THE TREE!

    THERE ARE STILL TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR TOMORROWS GAME 5!
    GO TO: http://WWW.LAKERS.COM AND CLICK ON THE TICKETEXCHANGE BUTTON!

  • battgyrl

    kobe is a crybaby wannabe mj pau is as software as wet tissue paper lamar isn’t interested derrick went fishing months ago bynumb has no guts the rest of the team highly overrated except trevor

  • battgyrl

    funny how lakers fans cry about thugs and then turn around and say wish we had them on our team

  • MR. JUAN_YOUR WARLOCK

    [Comment ID #73158 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I love physical play too. Tell your wife she can love me just like she loves Luke.

  • LakerLand_Nostradamus

    OK,
    Half you my crystal ball prediction came to life. Cavs and LBJ are on the brink of elimination.
    The other half will happen tomorrow. Lakers win, huge game by Lamar.
    Mark my words. we talk tomorrow.

  • Stephen

    WTF are you talking about get the **** out if you’re a laker hater biotch

  • Stephen

    Anyone going to the game tomorrow? if you are help me make sure we give Dahntay Jones a nice warm welcome

  • http://myspace.com/sonicussj Whatsa

    [Comment ID #73214 Will Be Quoted Here]

    i feel it

  • Robert

    Bringing up ‘acquiring Artest’ again, it’s not giving up to ‘want’ to have a player like Artest. Of course I want the Lakers to beat the Thuggettes and wipe the sh**t eating smirk off of George Karl’s face. He’s just pissed that we didn’t keep his kid on our team. We HAVE to beat the THUGS. I’m more concerned about the Magic. We lost the series to them, and they are on fire. They beat the ex-champs, and are beating the Cavs. As for next year, whatever happens this year, and of course I’m confident we can win a championship, we should STILL consider Artest, and have a dynasty for a few years. Don’t ya think?

  • Robert

    Also, it’s ok to want great players on your team ALL YEAR LONG, including the Finals. Years ago (before y’all were even zygotes in your parents), there was the greatest basketball fight of the century: King Kong vs. Godzilla, Wilt vs. Kareem. Us Laker fans would hate on Kareem whenever he came into town … Kareem! One of the greatest Lakers AND players ever (he was on the Bucks at the time). Then Wilt retired. We needed a ‘big man’. Lucky us, we got Kareem. We all cheered when that happened. At the beginning of this year, I thought Artest would be a great addition to our team. I still think so, despite the fact that I believe the Lakers can win it all with this team. I think we would have a dynasty for the next few years w/Artest. Don’t you want that?

  • jc

    my bad. didnt know it was the coke. but come on. the guy could have never come back and people would understand. but he did his time, worked his way back, and mde himself into great energy/role player. if he played for us, minus the coke binge, you guys would call him kurt rambis incarnate.

    the shoves and elbows are mostly dahntay jones. which is pretty much enemy number 1 in the laker nation and thats his fault. and yes gasol has been playing fantastic. what i mean about him being soft is the fact that he is not getting into better position to make the plays he does. hes probably averaging about 20 a game, but on 10-12 shots. imo, if you want more shots, get in better position down low. everytime he fights for position down low with k-mart they call the foul. use that!

    ps. can we all safely say that sasha is just a man. he isnt machine anymore.

  • jc

    and about the whole artest thing, i cant imagine the outrage when ron goes into the mode where im pounding the ball for 20 sec and putting up a dumb shot. minus 4 games in the series againt us, rons been shooting terrible. like 35% terrible. stop the hate on LO and stop looking at artest like hes our savior.

    man i swear every loss = 7240750973095 new trade happy laker GMs

  • MR JUAN_YOUR WARLOCK

    [Comment ID #73213 Will Be Quoted Here]

    You seem to enjoy Sucking on MY B A L L S, all the time!
    …What’s the matter; isn’t your tiny little dong(site name) next to your fake_ass4sure balls, enough to man up with! …What a wussie_pussie!

  • http://www.roosterspiripiri.com/about-us.html chicken

    I used to have money but after 6 months of a 10 Roosters per day habit I am now broke